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The Xi Factor: Is China uninvestible?

China’s president is a modern-day emperor who rules with an iron fist. His ‘common prosperity’ push promises better jobs and more equality, but it’s causing analysts to ask if the market is no longer investible and investors to fret and pull back – at a time when the country needs foreign capital more than ever.

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When Goldman Sachs analysts questioned in September whether China was investible, it came as a genuine shock.

Just six months earlier that term would have invited bafflement, even derision. China bounced back fast from the initial effects of Covid, buoyed by turning on its factories full blast to export everything from tablets to hand sanitizer.

But if 2020 was a banner year, with the economy skirting recession and global holdings of local stocks rising 62% to Rmb3.4 trillion ($533 billion), according to data from Gavekal Dragonomics, 2021 has been anything but.

First came the crackdowns, with Beijing targeting privately run technology and education platforms. Ed-tech firms such as New Oriental Education and TAL Education have seen the value of their New York-listed shares eviscerated.


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Elliot Wilson is Greater China Editor and Private Banking and Wealth Management Editor. He joined the magazine in 2020 having been a regular contributor focusing on China and the Indian subcontinent, Russia and Eastern Europe/the CIS. He is based in Hong Kong.
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